School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.
In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.
The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.
Under the terms of the Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.
Bus Éireann has confirmed that the child referred to by the Deputy is not attending their nearest school. The child is therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the scheme.
This case is the subject of an appeal to the School Transport Appeals Board. This Board is independent of my Department and I understand their next meeting is scheduled for 19 September 2019.
The Board will inform the family directly of their determination on the matter.
The terms of the School Transport Scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.